What does equality and diversity in housing look like?
If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism" (Dr. Stephen Shore)
Equality is about ensuring everybody has an equal opportunity, and is not treated differently or discriminated against because of their characteristics. Equality of opportunity is about ensuring everybody has an equal chance to take up opportunities and also to make full use of the opportunities on offer and to fulfil their potential.
Diversity is about taking account of the differences between people and groups of people, and placing a positive value on those differences.
Like everyone else, our tenants have individual needs and preferences, so when it comes to housing for people with autism or learning disabilities one size definitely does not fit all. Zetetick Housing aims to achieve equality and diversity by providing quality housing for specialist supported living to people with a variety of learning disabilities and complex needs, as well as people with autism. We work closely with care commissioners to ensure that tenants can live independently in their own homes with the right support.
Diversity is about celebrating and valuing how different we all are. This is strongly linked with promoting human rights and freedoms, based on principles such as dignity and respect. Diversity is about recognising, valuing and taking account of people’s different backgrounds, knowledge, skills, and experiences, and encouraging and using those differences to create a productive and effective workforce.
Diversity is something that applies to everyone, and should be part of everything we do. It is an important part of our work and not just a side issue. It requires everyone to play a full part. It is important to recognise that none of us fit neatly into separate ‘packages’ which can be neatly labelled or discriminated against.
The quote from Dr. Stephen Shore really emphasises the diversity of the autism spectrum – common autistic traits include processing issues, sensitivity to physical and sensory stimuli, communication issues, executive dysfunction, problems with motor skills and more. All of these traits, as well as many not listed here, are present in endless different combinations in each individual on the spectrum.
A Flexible Approach
Autism is only one of many disabilities or other conditions that Zetetick Housing’s tenants live with. Because the support needs of individuals with autism or other disabilities are so diverse, it can be difficult for care commissioners to find suitable housing and support under one roof. The ‘one size fits all’ approach to support that is often found in institutional care can make addressing all of these diverse needs impossible!
This is why Zetetick believes that the flexible approach offered by best practice supported living is key to promoting equality and diversity in housing. Best practice means that Zetetick provides the housing and works with trusted partner care providers who provide the support, giving real choice to tenants by enabling them to change their support without losing their home, or vice versa.
Zetetick Housing sources properties from the private rental market, suited to each tenant’s desires and support needs. This is equality and diversity in action. With Zetetick, care commissioners don’t have to worry about finding their clients housing or maintaining the property. Our in-house maintenance team are just one way that Zetetick supports tenants to keep their tenancies through intensive housing management.
Best value for money, best value for equality and diversity
Supported living is linked to positive outcomes for tenants, and this stability is a part of what makes supported living best value for money for commissioners. If you are a care commissioner, local authority or a family member supporting a disabled adult in need of housing, don’t hesitate to get in contact.